Sen. Lindsey Graham, Former Friend of Climate Legislation, Now Foe, and Acting Denier-ish

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has told reporters that he will vote against the climate bill that he helped to craft along with remaining co-sponsors Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT).  According to CongressDaily (sub. req’d), Graham says he doesn’t like “new changes [to the bill] that further restrict offshore oil and gas drilling and the bill’s impact on the transportation sector.”

As David Roberts at Grist writes:
“Yes, you read that right: He says he’s bailing from the bill because, in the wake of one of the greatest offshore oil drilling disasters of all time, a bill devoted to reducing climate pollution does not expand offshore oil drilling enough. Such is the Bizarro World of the U.S. Senate.”

Graham previously yanked his name off the bill out of anger surrounding Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) decision to prioritize immigration reform over climate and energy.  While some still hoped that Graham would suck it up and vote for whatever eventually became of the bill he helped create, he dashed all hopes of that happening today.

Instead, Graham says he now will only support a bill that allows polluting utilities more time to meet their emission reduction targets and completely exempts energy-intensive manufacturers and other industries from a carbon control plan.

He said Congress should “start over and scale down your ambitions.”

Actually, ambitions had already been scaled down to the point where the climate will not be saved under any current Congressional plan, by a long shot.

Senator Graham says he’ll work to cobble together a “hodgepodge of ideas out there that I think form a potential pathway forward.”

Not right now, of course.  That would demonstrate that he and other Republicans understand the urgency of addressing our oil addiction and solving climate change.

(So much for President Obama’s optimism that the oil spill would help remind all Americans of the need to work together to kick our oil addiction and to pass a science-based climate protection bill.  Graham’s move seems to indicate the exact opposite – any effort to limit further dangerous offshore drilling is simply too much for the Right.)

Sometime later in the future down the road a bit, maybe a single Republican (or gasp, more than one) might emerge to take up the mantle and remind the Right that they need a safe climate to pass on to their grandkids too.

That person is no longer Sen. Graham, who today even sounded like he had a couple cups of climate denier Kool-Aid for breakfast:
“I’m in the wing of the Republican Party that has no problem with trying to find ways to clean up our air. We can have a debate about global warming, and I’m not in the camp that believes man-made emissions are contributing overwhelmingly to global climate change, but I do believe the planet is heating up. But I am in the camp of believing that clean air is a noble purpose for every Republican to pursue. The key is to make it business friendly.”

Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones comments:
“So, he now says he doesn’t think that man-made emissions are causing the planet to warm—but that the planet is warming. And that emissions are bad for us, just not bad in the way that most people who care about emissions think they’re bad. Right? I give up.”

Last week the President boldly pledged that, “The next generation will not be held hostage to energy sources from the last century.”

But as long as the Republicans can find a way to block action on climate and clean energy (and everything else), the next generation will surely remain hostage to dirty polluting fuels.